FINRA bars broker Louis Ottimo (on appeal)

In a FINRA Office of Hearing Officers’ decision reported in September, 2015 (which is presently on appeal) Louis Ottimo of Syosset, New York, formerly of EKN Financial Services was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.

The sanction was based on findings that Louis Ottimo fraudulently omitted to disclose material information in a personal biography that was included in a private placement memorandum (PPM) for the sale of First Secondary Market Fund LLC securities, in violation of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder.

The findings stated that the biography for Louis Ottimo failed to include significant negative information concerning his prior business experience with various companies and that his misconduct resulted in personal monetary gain. The findings also stated that Ottimo willfully failed to timely disclose material information on his Form U4, including tax liens, judgments and a bankruptcy filing.

This matter has been appealed to the NAC and the sanctions are not in effect pending review.

Louis Ottimo registration and disciplinary history

In order to lawfully sell investments to the public, one must either be registered or exempt from registration. Louis Ottimo was registered with

10/2013 – 02/2014
AVENIR FINANCIAL GROUP
09/2012 – 09/2013
LAIDLAW & COMPANY (UK) LTD.
03/2009 – 10/2012
EKN FINANCIAL SERVICES INC.

According to FINRA’s CRD disclosure report, Louis Ottimo has been the subject of two customer complaints and one regulatory investigation.

The Law Office of David Liebrader practices exclusively in the field of investment loss recovery. For the past 23 years, we have dedicated our law practice to assisting investors who have been victims of investment fraud via fraudulent and unsuitable investment transactions. During that time we have recovered money for over one thousand individuals, pension plans, trusts and companies. The recoveries we have obtained via judgments, awards and settlements on behalf of our clients exceed $40,000,000.

When investors contact our firm they can expect prompt attention, and a detailed analysis of their issues. Typical claims that we are asked to review involve “unsuitability (where a financial advisor makes investment recommendations that are inconsistent with a customer’s investment objectives), claims for “churning” (where a broker enters into an excessive number of trades for the purpose of generating commissions), claims involving illiquid investments such as private placements (I.e., real estate investment trusts, limited partnerships, equipment leasing and oil and gas drilling programs) as well as claims for violations of state securities laws, which often provide investors remedies like attorney’s fees and interest, if they are successful on the claim.

Since a Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s, most investment related disputes between brokerage firms and their customers have been filed in an arbitration forum hosted by FINRA Dispute Resolution. FINRA, along with the SEC, serves as a securities industry “watchdog” and regulator. Most brokerage firms require their clients to sign binding arbitration agreements, mandating that any disputes between them be arbitrated at FINRA.

Investors pursuing claims at FINRA typically advance claims related to suitability. FINRA rules require that all registered representatives make suitable investment recommendations to their clients. Other claims are based on negligence or breach of fiduciary duty, while another category includes claims based on misrepresentations and fraud. Most claims filed with FINRA are resolved within 15 months, and oftentimes, the cases are resolved via settlement or mediation in under a year.

FINRA’s rules require that all investment recommendations made by licensed financial advisors be suitable in light of a customer’s needs, objectives and risk tolerance. In addition, all registered representatives are required to be properly supervised, with periodic inspections and reviews by qualified supervisors, whose job it is to vigorously investigate suspicions of wrongdoing (red flags).

If you suspect that you have been the victim of investment fraud, or had a financial advisor recommend unsuitable investments to you, call us today for a free, confidential consultation at (702) 380-3131.